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“Why” You Do the Things You Do…

Originally published on September 3, 2017

Have you ever wondered why you question yourself when you do something? …wondered why you did something the way you did? …wondered why you responded or related to someone the way you did? Or have you wondered why you like your profession so much–or don’t like it? There is a reason for that…it is all about “Why.”

There is a part of your brain to which you cannot talk, cannot influence, cannot control; however, this part of your brain plays a very important part in determining how satisfied you are in the activities that you choose. This part of your grey matter is called the limbic brain, which provides the core influence over what we find satisfying and those things in which we find the most success.

This great influencer drives something called your sub-operating system. Most people do not understand what this foundational system does for them, nor do they know what the root of this influence is regarding their success and satisfaction. Because of this, many people still find success in what they do; however, they do not simultaneously find satisfaction (I avoid using the word happiness because so many external variables play a role in happiness). 

Finding a Purpose

There are many ways that people try to find their purpose in both life and careers. These methods range from trying different things along the way to counseling to meditation and even to so-called psychics. The primary way that people search for answers–especially to career satisfaction–is through one or more of the many evaluation instruments available to them, including:

  • MBTI. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been used for over a half-century to explore personality across four factors: Extrovert v. introvert, sensing v. intuition, thinking v. feeling, and judgment v. perception. This has been the most widely used instrument for assessing personality traits in a non-clinical environment.

  • DISC. The DISC Assessment centers on four behavioral traits: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. It is often used in a career-seeking or pre-interview environment, but has also been used as a personality indicator. It focuses on aspects of interpersonal skills–important to anyone who is in a “customer-facing” position or at an executive level. It also provides insight into identifiers and traits that can help in purely social situations as well. it is conducted in a non-clinical environment.

  • MMPI. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is designed for use in both clinical and non-clinical environments. It is an exhaustive instrument that explores 15 different types of behaviors and various scales for interpretation based on both clinical (DSM-V) and non-clinical (behaviors) through a battery of 339 items.

  • CPI. The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) derives from the first release of the MMPI and consists of 434 true-false questions. The instrument explores 20 different scales that focus on personality and achievement.

  • Strengths Finder 2.0. This system begins with a book and ends with an evaluation instrument that explores two primary categories of characteristics and then combines the results to identify the optimum environment for the subject. It is based on over a half-century of research and includes 34 talent (competency) areas as part of the assessment process. Unlike the other tools, this can be purchased and used without a certified evaluator conducting the assessment.

  • SOS Why. This qualitative assessment uncovers not just the “what” but also the “why” regarding personal and professional traits and satisfaction levels. It does not just explain what characteristics may drive the way you think, act, work, etc., but provides insight into the “Why?” you think and act as you do. This can give you more clarity in understanding the root cause of your interests, passions, and purpose. 

Of note, a single assessment given on a single day does not typically fully represent the individual. We all have good days and bad, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. It may also be of use to explore more than one assessment because of their differing approaches. But in the end, most will tell you “what” but not “why.”

Why Care About Why?

Exploring your sub-operating system through the “Why” coaching method provides insight into the neuropsychological basis that influences your satisfaction and success. Unlike some instruments, the “Why” method includes 1-on-1 assessment with a certified evaluator and includes both what instruments and the patented Why? assessment that provides the insight into how your sub-operating system drives your success and satisfaction–or where there may be dissonance between what you perceive and the influences of your limbic brain.

In today’s professional world, we are constantly being bombarded with “what” we need to do or have done. in some cases, that may seem like enough; in many cases, however, understanding “Why” we do what we do and how we do it enhances both success and satisfaction. From a personal perspective, one of the most important questions I ask at executive meetings is “why” something needs to be done or is proposed as a new project–sometimes the result is that the effort would not have been appropriate and, therefore, saves man-hours when little or no significant benefits would derive from the effort.

I have taken the MBTI, MMPI, Strengths  Finder 2.0, DISC, and the S.O.S.Why assessments. The insight gained from the “Why?” assessment improved greatly the value of the other assessments because it showed me the reason why those assessments identified my traits and best environments the way that they did. Imagine if you had the knowledge to understand the “Why?” in you?


Would you like to know more about this topic? If so, take a look at the information at to learn more about WHYcoaching and WHYtraining. 

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